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Undergraduate Certificate in History of Art

Key facts

TypeOxford Qualification - Part-time
Start dateSep 2016
Subject area(s)History of Art
FeesFees for 2016-2017 are £2,240 (EU students) and £4,210 (Non-EU students). (You may pay by instalment.)
Application statusApplications being accepted
Application deadlineThu 12 May 2016
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk.


This two-year, part-time course in the History of Art is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree. It offers a broad framework and acts as an introductory course for students who wish to develop their knowledge of the subject by structured study. It is suitable for students who are interested in the arts but who have no formal qualification or previous study of the subject.

In the first year, you will gain an understanding of techniques, ways of looking at the visual arts, and the necessary terms that will underpin all further study. Tutors will lead visits to museums and art galleries and, wherever possible, visits will be made to current exhibitions. Oxford itself is very rich in its museums and every opportunity will be taken to introduce these to you.

In the second year, you will be exploring various historical periods in greater depth. Again, visits to museums and galleries will be arranged as appropriate.

Online Open Day

We held an online open day event for both the Certificate and Diploma programmes which is available for you to view. This hour-long presentation is a great opportunity to see the course directors, who discuss both programmes and answer questions. Please see: www.conted.ox.ac.uk/historyartopenday

Open Evening

All those who have an interest in studying the history of art are also invited to come to our Open Evening at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 from 6pm-8pm. This Open Evening offers a chance to see the Department, meet the course director and discuss the course. No booking is necessary - just show up promptly at 6:00pm!


Who is it for?
Enthusiasm, commitment and a high degree of motivation are important if you are to enjoy and complete this course. You do not need any formal qualification or previous study of the History of Art to enter the course. All applicants will be judged by identical criteria - an evidence of interest in the subject, the necessary language skills, a determination to succeed and sufficient time available to devote to the course.

Evidence of prior study in this field is not a requirement of this course, though applicants must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and understanding the English language. Students for whom English is a second language must obtain a certificate in English proficiency recognised by the University.

Student support
You will need to spend about 8 to 10 hours in home study per week in term time. Guidance will be given about reading and detailed book lists will accompany each module. The six study visits are an integral part of the course and will be compulsory. Every effort will be made to arrange these at convenient times.

If you are returning to learning after a period of time the Department has a number of Study Skills workshops to help you with study techniques or to write essays. History of Art tutors will give advice on subject-based study skills all the way through the course. You can obtain information about the Department’s Study Skills programme by contacting 01865 280728.

Library and computing facilities
Registered students are eligible to apply for an Oxford University card, valid for one year at a time, which acts as a library card for the Departmental Library at Rewley House and provides access to the unrivalled facilities of the Bodleian Library and Oxford University Library Services system, as well as to a wide range of electronic resources including electronic journals, many of which can be accessed from home. Students on the course are entitled to use the Library at Rewley House for reference and private study and to borrow books. The loan period is normally two weeks and up to eight books may be borrowed. Students will also be encouraged to use their nearest University library. More information about the Continuing Education Library can be found at www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/library where there is also a link to Oxford University Library Services. The University card also provides access to facilities at Oxford University Computing Service (OUCS), 13 Banbury Road, Oxford. Computing facilities are available to students in the Students'Computing Facility in Rewley House and at Ewert House, both of which operate extended hours and a booking system.

Programme details

Provisional programme

Wednesday mornings from 10am - 12pm at Ewert House
Preliminary welcome session. 28 September 2016

Learning to look at the visual arts. 5 October - 2 Nov 2016
A study of colour, subject matter, space, tone, form, composition, etc.
The materials and techniques of painting. 9 Nov - 7 Dec 2016

An introduction to museum studies 18 Jan - 15 Feb 2017

An introduction to critical theory and the use of primary texts.22 Feb - 22 March 2017

Looking at architecture and sculpture. 26 April - 28 June 2017.

Wednesday mornings from 10am - 12pm at Ewert House

Medieval art & the signifcance of context. October - December 2017

The Renaissance. January - March 2018

Towards the 20th century. April - June 2018

For Year 1, you must complete three assignments of 1,500 words, one assignment of 2,000 words and three class tests (one per term).

For Year 2, you must complete three assignments of 2,000 words and three class tests (one per term).

For the second year, you must complete three assignments of 2,000 words and three class tests (one per term).

There will be an additional project submission per year, enabling you to cover ideas and subjects not covered in coursework assignments. The Year 1 project will be 3,000 words in length; the Year 2 project will be 5,000 words.

There is no formal examination at the end of the Certificate course. There is, however, an attendance requirement of at least 75% of the total class hours, and study visits are compulsory.

Course aims

Aims and learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to introduce you to the study of the History of Art as a discipline and also to provide an overview of the development of the History of Western Art from the classical period to the 20th century. By the end of the course it is anticipated that students will:

• be able to look at painting, sculpture and architecture in a critical and analytical way.
• be able to understand how various works of art were made.
• have studied a selection of texts – both primary and secondary source material.
• be encouraged to visit galleries, museums, exhibitions and the research resources and collections of works of art in Oxford.
• be prepared for further study such as the Department’s Undergraduate Diploma in the History of Art (FHEQ Level 5).

Teaching methods

Teaching staff

A panel of tutors will teach the weekly sessions; the panel includes, among others:

Dr Janina Ramirez (Course Director)
Mrs Mary Acton, BA Hons (Courtauld), FE Diploma
Dr Meg Boulton
Mrs Caroline Cannon-Brookes, BA
Mr Patrick Doorly, MA, PGCE, FRSA
Mr Oliver Gosling
Mr Hubert Pragnell, MA

All tutors are very experienced, not only in their subject but in teaching adult students and are aware of their learning needs. The sessions will be lively, structured and informative with plenty of time for discussion. Each class will be illustrated with slides and, occasionally, with video material.

Student Support
You will need to spend about 8 to 10 hours in home study per week during term time. Guidance will be given about reading and detailed book lists will accompany each year. The six study visits are an integral part of the course and are compulsory. Every effort will be made to arrange these at convenient times. The course team will provide both academic and pastoral support to students on the course, including guidance on the development of effective study skills for students returning to study after a break. Additional support is available at a Departmental level by the Widening Access Assistant, who can be contacted on +44(0)1865 280355 or via email at student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk. Before the start of the Michaelmas (autumn) term, we offer an ‘Award-Bearing Course Preparation Study Day’ focusing on Academic Reading and Writing, which is free for students enrolled on our Award-Bearing courses. This enables students to find the confidence to read and follow academic assignment instructions and to respond to essay questions; and it discusses how to manage your time effectively, and how to locate and cite sources. The Department runs additionally a programme of general and academic Study Skills workshops and weekly classes (available at a reduced rate to present students), which are designed to enable you to develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. If you have any questions about ‘Award-Bearing Course Preparation Study Day’ or any Study Skills course, please email ppweekly@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44(0)1865 280892.

Contact Information

Course Director
If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application you may contact the following:

Dr Janina Ramirez janina.ramirez@conted.ox.ac.uk

Award Programme Office 01865 280154 / 270369
For queries on applications and admissions ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk

Widening Access Assistant 01865 280355
For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision, residential category and sources of funding: student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

Study Skills 01865 280892
For information about Study Skills courses: ppweekly@conted.ox.ac.uk

Day & Weekend School Office 01865 270368 / 270380
For information on day schools and weekend courses: dayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk

OUDCE Reception 01865 270360
For general enquiries about OUDCE or to leave messages if other staff are not available.

Apply for this course

How to apply

You should complete the application form and submit it, together with (i) a reference and (ii) additional materials: a statement of 300 words outlining your previous experience of the subject (if any) and your reasons for wishing to enrol on the course.

If possible, your referee should be a person who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not appropriate, you should name a referee who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.

Please read carefully the instructions on the reference form. When you have received your reference, return the sealed envelope with your application form and additional material, by 7:00pm on either the first application date of 10 March 2016, or by the second date of 12 May 2016 to:

Award Programme Administrator
OUDCE, Rewley House
1 Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JA

Please do not leave it too late to contact us. Late applications may be considered by the Director of Studies if places are still available on the course. Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview. Interviews will take place at Rewley House in mid/late July and early September 2015. If necessary, alternative arrangements will be made for applicants unavailable on the scheduled dates. The final decision on entry to the course rests with OUDCE.

Click here to download the application and reference form

Non-EU students
This course is not suitable for non-EU students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For information, refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk.

Fees and expenses
The fee for 2016-2017 is £2,240 (EU students) or £4,210 (non-EU students), which includes tuition and tutorials. A non-refundable deposit of £200 is required when you accept an offer of a place and the remaining fee may be paid in instalments. There will be a small fee increase for the second year of the course, 2017-2018.

The course fee does not cover entry fees to museums, art galleries or exhibitions. Usually, group rates are available and every attempt will be made to keep costs as low as possible by car sharing or by group coach travel. Some books will be recommended for you to purchase but recommendations will be made with costs in mind.

Fees for EU students

The UK will be holding a referendum on its membership of the European Union in June 2016. Regardless of the outcome of this referendum, the University of Oxford will not change the tuition fees for EU students already published for the academic year 2016/17 (September 2016 – June 2017) and given in your offer letter.  Changes to fees and charges in subsequent years for on-course students who start in 2016/17 are set out at:

[UG link] http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/fees-and-funding/changes-fees-and-charges

[PG link] https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/tuition-and-college-fees/changes-to-fees-and-costs?wssl=1.

Tuition fees for 2017/18 have not yet been agreed.   If you are an applicant from the EU (other than from the UK) intending to apply for a place to start at Oxford in 2017/18, or holding an offer for deferred entry in 2017/18, you are advised to refer to the UKCISA website at http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/EEA--Swiss-Students/EU-Referendum

English language requirements
All teaching at the University of Oxford is carried out in English (with the exception of some language-specific teaching) and tutors must be convinced that you have sufficient fluency in written and spoken English to cope with your course from the start. Therefore, all non-native English-speaking applicants (other than those who have been educated in the medium of English language during their two most recent years of study) must satisfy the following requirements:

• IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components) or
• TOEFL (paper based): overall score of 600, with a Test of Written English score of 5.5 or
• TOEFL (computer-based): overall score of 250, with Test of Written English score of 5.5 or
• TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 100 or
• Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A or
• Cambridge Certificate for Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B or
• English Language GCSE, IGCSE or O-level: grade B or
• International Baccalaureate Standard level (SL): score of 5 in English
• European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.

Funding and financial assistance
For information on student funding, please visit our website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk and follow links to `students'and `sources of funding’. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding.

For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355 or student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk.

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